The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Random Assault

    6
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Groped

    2
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Robbed

    13
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Giardia

    8
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Robbed

    5
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Groped

    9
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Beaten

    3
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Teargassed

    2